Commentary Magazine


Contentions

But … He Was Democratically Elected

Spanish-language media are reporting that in the Honduran Presidential Palace, lately occupied by Manuel Zelaya, criminal investigators have found pre-tabulated “results” for the unconstitutional referendum Zelaya was trying to force in June. In one district, according to computer files seized by authorities, there were to be 550 total ballots cast, with 450 approving Zelaya’s question, 30 voting no, 20 ballots left blank, and 30 ballots nullified. Zelaya’s attempt on the Honduran constitution was modeled on similar processes in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador that have enabled presidents there to remain in office after their constitutionally limited terms ended. (The methodology also invites a disquieting comparison with Ahmadinejad’s in Iran’s June 12 election.)

It should thus be no surprise that talks between Zelaya’s representatives and those of the interim Honduran government of former legislative leader Roberto Micheletti broke down Sunday. The talks, mediated by Costa Rica’s President Oscar Arias, were promoted by the U.S. and OAS as a means of resolving the Zelaya situation peacefully. Micheletti and the Honduran Congress maintain that they followed the rule of law in removing Zelaya from office and continue to balk at the provision of Arias’s proposal, which requires admitting Zelaya into a power-sharing arrangement until the election Micheletti intends to hold this fall.

The Obama administration has maintained comparative silence on developments in Honduras since Obama’s initial condemnation of Zelaya’s removal on June 28 and his endorsement the next day as “still president.” Hillary Clinton met with Zelaya on July 7, however, and Robert Gibbs reaffirmed on July 15 that, in the administration’s view, the removal of Zelaya was “not in accordance with democratic principles.”

Perhaps, in part, it was not. Miguel Estrada — a native Honduran and the U.S. constitutional scholar whose federal-bench appointment, by George W. Bush, was stalled by Senate Democrats — concluded in a July 10 editorial that although Zelaya’s removal was performed by the book, it was not correct for the other branches of government to send him out of the country. They should have jailed him in Honduras.

That would almost certainly have been a better tactical, as well as legal, decision. Zelaya threatens to continue his fight and reportedly is asking his labor-union supporters to stage a nationwide strike this Thursday and Friday to herald his planned return to Honduras by the 25th. In Nicaragua, where troops were reportedly assembling at the Honduran border two weeks ago, Daniel Ortega has rejected the deployment of international peacekeeping troops in Honduras and accused Honduras of collaborating with the U.S. in a coup attempt against him — apparently setting up a pretext for intervention. A passive U.S. approach is the main condition needed for Zelaya’s supporters — Chavez, Ortega, Castro — to turn the standoff into a Honduran civil war. But maybe, at the end of it, a victorious Zelaya would at least hold an “election.”



Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Pin It on Pinterest

Shares
Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!

Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.